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Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Iron Petticoat (1956)

A Soviet military pilot (Katharine Hepburn) is furious when she is passed over for a promotion by an under qualified male so she flees Russia in a stolen jet but she is forced down over West Germany. An American Captain (Bob Hope) in the U.S. Army is assigned against his will to woo her over to the capitalism way of western life. Directed by Ralph Thomas, the movie owes a lot to the 1939 Lubitsch film NINOTCHKA in its basic premise. The film's reputation is that it's a stinker and while it's not as bad as its reputation suggests, it's simply not a funny film. Katharine Hepburn's spectacularly awful performance aside (she has been worse but I'll be a gentleman and not mention in what), the punchlines fall flat and the film can't seem to decide whether it wants to be a typical Bob Hope comedy or a witty satire on Cold War politics and so it fails on both counts. To be fair, Hepburn was on board first and pleased by Ben Hecht's script but once Hope came on board, he had his gag writers change the script to favor him rather than Hepburn. The result pleased nobody although surprisingly, the film was a modest hit at the box office. With James Robertson Justice, Robert Helpmann and Noelle Middleton.   

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